Israel A state of the Near East, bordering to the North with Lebanon, to the East with Syria and Jordan, to the SW with Egypt.
From the morphological point of view, the territory can be divided into 4 areas (the coastal plain; the central highlands; the Palestinian rift valley; the Negev, of which the first three follow one another from W to East, while the fourth occupies the entire sector southern). The fertile coastal plain overlooks the Mediterranean for almost 230 km with a low and sandy coastline interrupted only by the promontory of Haifa, the eastern offshoot of Mount Carmel (2810 m). More than half of the population is concentrated in this band, from 20 to 40 km wide, and the main urban centers arise. Immediately to the East, the other lands rise, over which extend, from N to S, the historical regions of Galilee, Samaria and Judea. The Palestinian trench follows, a long absolute depression crossed by the Jordan River and partly occupied by the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The desert-steppe region of the Negev is characterized by tabular structures with sometimes very steep sides and dominated by rocky peaks (Mount Ramon 1035 m).
According to 800zipcodes, in 2009 the resident population exceeded 7 million residents. Of these, 267,000 Israeli citizens lived in the occupied territories and 180,000 in Jerusalem East. The demographic dynamics are characterized by high growth rates, largely determined by constantly and largely positive migratory balances. In fact, just over 65% of residents were born in Israel, while the remaining percentage is made up of immigrants. To the traditional flows from Western Europe, North America, other countries of the Near East and Africa were added, starting from the last decade of the 20th century, those originating from the former Soviet republics and from the countries of Europe Oriental. In the period 1989-2002 almost 800,000 immigrants arrived, mostly from Eastern Europe and the CIS. The migratory balances make it possible to rebalance birth rates in which the Jewish majority records lower values (18 ‰) than the Muslim minorities (38 ‰), Druze (26 ‰) and Christian (20 ‰). According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, in December 2006, 76% of the population was Jewish, 20% Arab and 4% classified as ‘other’. The Muslim minority (16%), predominantly Sunni, is concentrated in Galilee and in the Jerusalem district. The Druze (1.6%) reside in some villages of the Golan, Galilee and Carmel. Finally, Christians populate neighborhoods in the cities of Jerusalem, Nazareth and Akko (about 2.1% of the population, 3/4 Arabs). The average density, higher than 340 residents / km 2, hides the profound differences existing, in terms of population distribution, between the different areas of the country. Along the fertile coastal plain and especially in the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv, the density exceeds 7000 residents / km 2. Levels well above the average are also recorded in Jerusalem (5700) and in the Haifa area (850). On the other hand, there are the northern area (230) and the southern desert regions, not without settlements but with densities that do not exceed 70 residents / km 2. To cope with the significant migratory waves that periodically affected the country, a colonization plan had been launched since 1948 aimed at preventing concentration in urban areas and favoring settlement in the countryside and in steppe and desert areas. Nonetheless, over 90% of the Israeli population is urban. The Central Statistics Office identifies 72 cities, 14 of which exceed 100,000 residents.
Israel has proclaimed Jerusalem the largest city with its 919,438 residents (as of 2018) residing on an area of 125.1 km 2, its united and indivisible capital in 1980, but its status is not universally recognized internationally since the eastern part of the city, on the West Bank, claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of their state, has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war; in fact, almost all the countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv or in the immediate vicinity of the city on the Mediterranean coast. Located in Judea, near the watershed between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, it is not only one of the oldest cities in the world, but also a holy city for the three monotheistic religions. In addition to being a historical and religious center, Jerusalem plays an important administrative and cultural role, to which, more recently, industrial activities and tourist functions have been added. The economic heart of the country is Tel Aviv (380,000 residents), at the center of a vast metropolitan area, the Gush Dan (which owes its name to one of the tribes of the ancient kingdom of Israel), which overall boasts a population of about 3 millions of residents scattered in over 20 small and medium-sized cities. The presence of the so-called Silicon Wadi, the area with the highest concentration of activities related to the new economy and TLC (telecommunications), its modern and cosmopolitan character, the size of its metropolitan area make Tel Aviv the cultural and economic capital of the country and nominate it to enter, a unique case in the Near East, in the category of ‘global cities’. Haifa, with its 267,000 residents, is the third largest city in the country. To the historical port function, it has added the industrial one, first, and that linked to research and technological innovation, then.
Among the minor cities stand out Nazareth in Galilee (65,000 residents, Tourist function), Beersheba (185,000 residents) Capital of the southern district, center of chemical industries and communication hub with the Negev, and Elat (46,000 residents) For the its strategic position on the Gulf of ‛Aqabah.